Skin Regeneration with Self-Assembled Peptide Hydrogels Conjugated with Substance P in a Diabetic Rat Model

Ji Eun Kim, Jung Hwa Lee, Soo Hyun Kim, Youngmee Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


The wound healing process requires enough blood to supply nutrients and various growth factors to the wound area. However, chronic wounds such as diabetic skin ulcers have limited regeneration due to a lack of cellular and molecular signals because of a deficient blood flow. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are known to provide various factors, including growth factors, cytokines, and angiogenic mediators. Although MSCs have great therapeutic potential, their transplantation has many obstacles, including the time required to culture the cells, the invasiveness of the procedure, and limited stem cell sources. In this study, we induced a diabetic 1 model in rats aged 7 weeks by injecting streptozotocin and citrate buffer solution. After confirming that diabetes was induced in the rats, we created critical sized wounds on the dorsal area of the rats and then injected hydrogels. We performed the experiments with four groups (defect model for the control, self-assembled peptides (SAPs), SAP with soluble substance P, and SAP conjugated with substance P) to treat the wound defect. Tissues were harvested at 1, 2, and 3 weeks after injection and examined for the wound closure, histological analysis, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis, and quantification of collagen deposits to investigate stem cell recruitment and full recovery of wounds at an accelerated time period. As our results show, the wounds treated with SAP and substance P exhibited significantly accelerated wound closure, enhanced collagen deposition, and increased angiogenesis. Furthermore, we confirmed the ability of SAP with substance P to promote the recruitment and homing of cells by immunofluorescence staining of a MSC marker. In addition, it was observed that substance P remained in the wound area up to 3 weeks after the injection of SAP with substance P. It is believed that the endogenous MSCs mobilized by substance P had therapeutic effects through their proper differentiation and release of paracrine factors into the wound sites. In conclusion, this study shows that SAP with substance P can promote wound healing to enhance skin regeneration without cell transplantation in a diabetic model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-33
Number of pages13
JournalTissue Engineering - Part A
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant of the Korea Health technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare (HI15C3060-010115), and by a grant of Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and future Planning (2016R1A2B2009550), Republic of Korea.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


  • Self-assembled peptides
  • diabetes
  • skin regeneration
  • substance P
  • wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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